Winter scenes can be magical – think chocolate-box cottages laced in a light dusting of snow, icicles shimmering in the sun and a powdery blanket of white across the lawn. However, when a snowstorm hits it can spell catastrophe, from burying houses and leaving people stranded to causing roofs to cave in. These jaw-dropping pictures show just how powerful those pretty snowflakes can be...

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Buried cabin, Lapland, Sweden

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Fully submerged beneath the snow, this mountain cabin is barely visible. Pictured during the winter season, it sits in the subpolar area of Lapland in Swedenin the tiny village of Joesjö, a stone's throw from the Norwegian border.


Buried cabin, Lapland, Sweden

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With the warm glow of the cabin spilling out onto the snow and the spectacular green skies of the northernlights in the distance, it truly is abreathtaking scene. However, we can't imagine it'd be too easy to dig yourself out of that snowbank in the morning!


Frozen town, Sisimiut, Greenland

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Thefishing port of Sisimut, Greenland's second-largest city, spends a large portion of the winter months covered in snow. The white stuff is often so deep it reaches up to the windows of the Arctic settlement'scolourful array of cottages.


Frozen town, Sisimiut, Greenland

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The residents of this remote towndon't let the snowfall get in their way though– here, winter is a time for exploration rather than hibernation. In fact, the town celebrates the snow with winter sports, from dog-sledding to cross-country skiingand snowmobiling.


Snow cornice, Senja Municipality, Norway

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In March 2018, this snow cornice in the town of Finnsnes inNorway was in danger of collapsing on top of the house below it. With reports of avalanches across the whole of Norway, this homeowner's neighbour sent them this picture of their holiday home, prompting them to cancel their planned Easter holiday trip.


In 2012, over 15 feet of snow fell in parts of Europe. Albania declared a natural state of emergency in some of the worst-affected areas. Here, a man can be seen in the village of Kelmend clearing a path to his house. During the snowy period, many roofs collapsed under the weight of the snow, including that of a 300-year-old church.


Meanwhile, in the village of Cârligu Mic, which sitsnorth-east of Bucharest inRomania, firemen were captured trying to helpclear the snow covering a cabin in the woods. In Romania in 2012, over 35,000 people were isolated in the east of the country without food or water and fifty communities were left without electricity.


It may not look like it, but 2016 was a warm winter for the residents of Altay, China, which is often affected by the El Nino phenomenon. Icicles hang down from a row of houses, formed after the snow started to melt in the daytime, only to freeze again overnight.
In 2006, southern Germany suffered heavy snowfall that caused extensive damage to houses across the area. Over 2000 helpers and soldiers were mobilised in the region to help clear the snow and prevent further damage to homes and businesses.

After many properties across the regionlost the fight against Mother Natureand suffered collapsed roofs and walls, a mancan be seen trying to clear the snow from the roof of his own property to stop it from meeting the same fate.


It isn't just properties that suffer in heavy snow. These homeowners in Massachusetts look on at a fallen tree outside their house. In 2002, Boston was inundated with snow,leaving close to 40,000 people without electricity.


One Canadian couple suffered a particularly tricky winter in 2014 when their house was almost entirely buried in snow. After spending most of the winter away, they rushed back after neighbours warned their home was in trouble.
Believe it or not, this snow blower is on top of the roof! Rescue efforts took a long time and initially the pair were forced to abandon their home, taking only a few pieces of property that they were able to save. The weight of the snow had caused the porch roof to cave in and there were fears over the entire home’s stability.
The cold snap across the US in 2017 blew icy conditions across the north of the American continent. This farm just outside Union Dale, Pennsylvania was blanketed in white, and we’re guessing the mailman called in a snow day...
Nearby, in the rural northeast town of Scranton, a blizzard brought more than a foot of snow and high winds. It caused chaos, with flights cancelled across eight states and many schools forced to shut.

This brightly coloured property near Portland, Oregon managed to avoid a white-out thanks to its bright yellow exterior. Like much of the US, Portland experienced an unusually tough winter in 2016, with extreme snow causing large-scale destruction and even forcing people to abandon their cars during blizzards.


This cute festive scene was captured in Flagstaff, Arizona back in 2012when the state experienced a major winter storm. High winds across the state and inparts of neighbouring New Mexico caused dangerous driving conditions, with two highways temporarily shut. Heavy snow blanketed the area for days.


The folk of Scandinavia are used to a blanket of white in winter. The town of Kiruna is in the northernmost regionof Swedenin the province of Lapland, where snow cover generally lasts from late September to mid-May, but snowfall can occur year-round.


But the town doesn't go into hibernationin the winter –the snowfall is a huge boom to tourism in the area. The famous Ice Hotel and the northern lights are major attractions, plus the annual Snow Festival,held over the last weekend of January, features avariety of snowsports.


Colorado is used to a good covering of snow every year, which is wonderful for its skiers, but less so for the families snowed in during the downfalls. This backyard was coated in a thick blanket of snow for days after a particularly heavy storm.
Upstate New York was buried in more than seven feet of snow back in November 2014. Two tonnes of snow piled up on buildings and homes during the deluge, causing many roofs to collapse.
Brave homeowners and even some shop workers climbed onto roofs to shovel off the snow to reduce the danger of collapse and avalanches. In the worst-hit areas, 5,000 people, 200 snow ploughs and thousands of trucks were used to clear buildings, drives and roads.

The snow season in Japan is shortbut severe. Up in the mountains, the traditional guesthousescalled ryokans are built fromwood and kept constantly warm with portable gas heaters, open fires and in modern times, electric blankets tucked under low tables. Plus, the hot springs – called onsen – are well worth braving the snow for.


This incredible shot was taken in New York after a blizzard. The snow looks like it could be insulation pouring out of the house itself. The inhabitants have managed to dig a path out, but the cars remain buried under the deep snowfall.
Europe gets its fair share of snow too, and the snow-covered fields in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, southern Germany, are a prime example. This little dwelling was covered in deep snow in February 2012, when the big freeze sadly claimed many lives over the winter period.
You don’t expect to encounter snow in India but areas at high altitude experience the extreme cold too. Here, icicles hang from this residence in Kashmir as children wander the snow-covered roads on the outskirts of Srinagar after the season"s first snowfall.

This dilapidated old chateauin the hamlet of La Petite Pierre in north-easternFrance withstood the heavy snowfall of 2010. The picturesque village is remote and open to the elements, perched on the side of a mountain.


In 2005, Japan experienced a record snowfall that submerged buildings and homes, as seen here in the town of Tsunan in Niigata Prefecture. In this area, there was approximately 360cm of accumulated snow and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces were brought in to help clear the drifts.
Ordinary people, too, worked to unearth their frozen homes from the devastating snowdrifts, and tragically some 70 people were killed by the extreme winter weather across Japan that year.

A huge storm hit Hull, Massachusettsone weekend in late January 2005. The area was covered with ice that caused major damage to propertiesas it melted and refroze, turning local homes into dramatic ice sculptures.


Nearby in Scituate, a row of coastal homes was covered with a thick layer of snow and ice thanks to the same major winter storm passing through. If it wasn"t so destructive we"d almost say it was beautiful!

Jämtlandin central Swedenis sparsely populated with these traditional wooden houses that pepper the beautifulremote countryside. Sweden experiences snowfallbetween December and April, as well as darknessfor much of those months too. When winter rolls around, locals hunker down in their wooden cabins with log burners and slow-cooked stews.


Christmas 2017 was a complete white-out for the town of Erie in Pennsylvania. Astounded residents posted pictures of the heavy snow on Twitter, as it continued to fall, and fall, and fall with no signs of letting up.
The situation became rather severe as the town rapidly became buried under 34 inches of powdery snow. The National Weather Service office in Cleveland confirmed it was Erie’s biggest snowfall on record. Several people who grew up in Erie were amazed at the levels, saying they’d never seen anything like it in all their lives.
As Switzerland prepared to host the World Economic Forum in 2012, severe spells of snow meant the army had to be brought in to help clear areas of the town of Davos. It was the first time in nearly a decade that the area had endured such a heavy snowfall, which posed problems for the temporary structures set up for the event.
Great for the ski resorts, the metres of snow that fell were far less welcome in the centre of Davos, where roofs had to be cleared, leaving mountains of swept snow piled on the pavements. Luckily the army and locals were well-equipped to deal with the deluge in the Alpine town. Snow-blowing machines were out in force and additional workers were drafted in to manually shovel snow off roofs to protect those below from potential avalanches.

The UK also struggled with a deluge of snow back in March 2018. Pictured here, resident Jonas Ershov in the Cumbrian village of Nenthead is pictured trying toclearthe mountain of snow outside his house after being stuck inside for six days.


The residents of the mountain resort village of Melchsee-Frutt in Switzerland are no strangers to heavy snowfall. Renowned for its cross-country skiing and dramatic ski slopes, the area is frequently bombarded with thick layers of snow that often submerge houses in the area. This old farmhouse has been practically swallowed up – the footprints left across the roof show just how much snow has built up around the property.

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It's not uncommon for temperatures in Melchsee-Frutt to plummet to an average of -5° (23F) in the winter months. These frosty conditions mean that when snow falls and settles in huge banks, it doesn't disappear for quite some time.